468 Marbles

A couple of years ago, when Jack (my oldest) turned nine years old, I began to realize how quickly he was growing up. It seemed unbelievable that he might be out of my house and on his own in another nine years (I left home for college when I turned 18.) and that his time with me at home could be halfway over. That thought gave me a “reality check” about the priorities in my life.

I began to consider that we needed to have Jack skillfully prepare to face adulthood and had few years left in which to do this. One of my personal parenting challenges is that I have a hard time weighing the immediacy of the moment with the quiet demands of really important long-term issues.

Somewhere, I read about a man who transferred marbles from one jar to another to help him conceptualize a segment of time. So I bought two jars and 468 marbles to help me conceptualize that I had only 468 weeks left until Jack turned 18.

Every Saturday since then, I have conducted my own “private” marble ceremony where I moved one marble from the full marble jar to the other marble jar. This weekly ceremony has helped me to stay focused on the quiet urgency of the biblical mandate to train up my children. It also helps in making decisions about accepting traveling engagements and new responsibilities that would take me away from my home responsibilities. I now have 312 marbles left before Jack turns 18; 156 marbles are gone and can never be recovered. As I live, I often ask, “Is it worth a marble?”

Beginning on Mother’s Day and continuing through Father’s Day, we will be starting a new sermon series about the home at Southlake Baptist Church – to help us spend our marbles well. We are calling the series “Against the Grain…Doing Family God’s Way.” Each week, we will examine the scriptural pattern for success in our homes. We will consider that many of today’s parenting “experts” have strayed far away from the teachings of Scripture. I encourage to you be our guest as we open the Bible for God’s guidance in our quest to build strong homes.

By Clayton Reed